Customer personas can increase the efficiency of your marketing strategies by making it easier for you to understand your audience and use the right tactics to reach and convert prospects. Use this quick guide and the free template to create your own personas and create successful campaigns.
Here’s a quick overview of what I’ll cover. Feel free to use the links below to skip to a particular section:
- benefits of customer personas
- getting started – how to collect data
- what data you should collect
- creating the personas with our free template
- making the most of your customer personas
Benefits of customer personas
There is one main benefit of creating marketing personas – personalisation. Getting to know your audience will help you provide the right content to the right segment at the right time.
Personalisation is one of the most powerful tools of the digital era. Each of us is thought to be exposed to 4000 – 10,000 ads every day, making it more difficult than ever for brands to cut through the noise. Moreover, personalisation can help build trust. An astonishing 83% of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations over other sources. Why? Because recommendations from friends and family lack commercial intent. Personalisation enables marketers to tailor their messages in such a way that their audience doesn’t feel like they’re being sold to, but they’re being offered a solution, a means to reach their goals. To quote Tom Fishbourne, CEO and Founder of Marketoonist, “The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing” and personalisation is the way to achieve this.
Getting started – how to collect data
To create your customer personas you’ll need as much information as possible on who your audience is. Start by looking at your target market defined in your market strategy. Select the three best performing segments and conduct some research on them.
Data gathering can be a daunting task and you might not know where to start. Luckily, there are plenty of online tools and resources readily available to marketers nowadays. You can start by looking at your existing audience using analytics tools such as:
- Google Analytics
- social media analytics available from Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook and Instagram
- email reports
- official studies conducted by bodies such as the Office for National Statistics
However, these won’t give you the full picture that you need. You’ll have to go in depth by conduction some primary research on your existing customers or prospects such as:
- phone interviews
- focus groups
- online questionnaires
- interviews with your sales team
If you’re just starting up your business and you have no historical data or any prospects yet, look at what audiences your competitors target. Look at who their followers on social media are, perform a backlink analysis to see who links to their website or use tools such as SimilarWeb to gain insights into their website traffic and audiences. Another method of collecting data is adding some questions to your contact forms on your website.
What data you should collect
Start broad and then narrow your data down to specifics. First, cover the basics:
- geographical location (country, county, city)
- marital status
- household income
- homeowner or renting
- lives in a flat or a house
It’s important to then go into psychographic details as these will have a higher impact on how your target market makes decisions and progresses through your sales funnel, especially for high-value purchases. Narrow your research down to personality traits such as:
- hobbies and interests
- likes and dislikes
- spending habits
- common objections during the sales process
- marketing communications preferences
These are more likely to surface during primary research activities such as interviews. The information you need will depend on what type of business you run and what type of product or service you offer. Here is a list of 150 questions you can ask your interviewees to cover as much ground as possible. The more details you have, the easier it’ll be for you to put yourself in their shoes and create adequate campaigns and communications.
If you’re a B2B company your questions could be:
- what type of company they work for
- what their role is
- what their level of education is
- what a typical workday look like for them
- what their career goals are
- what their challenges are
- what marketing messages and tactics they prefer.
Creating the personas with our free template
Now that you have all the information that you need, it’s time for your personas to take form. Identify patterns and commonalities among your data and select a number of types of customers that stand out. It’s recommended that you have between three and five personas to make sure that you cover all your typical customers and the profiles are not too diluted.
We’ve put together a template that you can use to make it easier for you to create personas. Just fill in the fields with the information you have:
- add a headshot of your customer – it’ll humanise the profile
- give your persona a name – it’ll make it easier to remember
- add the demographic details
- add the psychographic information
- add a quote that your customer would typically say – make this about their challenges and their goals
- add the type of marketing messages they would like to use or you’d be best positioned to use with a specific persona
Making the most of your customer personas
Once you have your personas, it’s time to use them and apply them to your marketing strategy. Adapt your tactics and messages to each persona to convert prospects into customers and then develop long-lasting relationships with them. Label your prospects in your CRM system and direct them down the funnel that is more likely to convert them through tailored communications.
For example, if you’re a professional services company, you’ll use different channels to reach a Marketing Executive and a Managing Director at a prospect organisation. Based on their experience level, education, goals, challenges and media consumption habits, you’ll adapt your message to be in line with each individual’s needs. If you’re running a paid media campaign you’ll probably tailor your keywords based on each persona’s challenges and use the channels that each use more frequently. The Marketing Executive might prefer Twitter, whereas the Managing Director might prefer LinkedIn or specialists websites. Clicking on your ads should trigger different emails campaigns.
It’s good practice to track your customer personas’ evolution over time and amend them to reflect the development of your customers. Review your personas as your business grows and moves into new markets.